LAZZARO POSTS WIRE-TO-WIRE VICTORY AT ROUND TWO AT BOSCH SPARK PLUG GRAND PRIX PRESENTED BY TOYOTA NAZARETH, Pa., May 1, 1999 -- Anthony Lazzaro took the PPI-MCI WorldCom Swift from pole to checker to record his sixth...
LAZZARO POSTS WIRE-TO-WIRE VICTORY AT ROUND TWO AT BOSCH SPARK PLUG GRAND PRIX PRESENTED BY TOYOTA
NAZARETH, Pa., May 1, 1999 -- Anthony Lazzaro took the PPI-MCI WorldCom Swift from pole to checker to record his sixth career KOOL/Toyota Atlantic Championship victory Saturday at the Bosch Spark Plug Grand Prix Presented by Toyota. Dating back to the end of last year, Lazzaro has now won four of the last six Atlantic contests, and more importantly took the championship lead for the first time in his Atlantic career. Kenny Wilden raced his Michael Shank Racing-Newcourt/TrizecHahn Swift from sixth on the starting grid to a second place finish, taking the runner-up spot from Andrew Bordin with less than 10 laps to go. Bordin held on to finish third in his PPI-Thyssen Steel/Player's/Millennium Data Swift. Alexandre Tagliani, who started from the outside of the front row in his Player's/Indeck Swift ran second until he hit the inside curbing while avoiding a slower competitor on lap 38. Tagliani pitted and retired with suspension damage, and fell to second in the championship behind Lazzaro's 38 points. Tagliani remained at 21. "I think ultimately, I was a little faster than Alex, but I'm just happy to get this victory," said Tagliani. "I have to give most of the credit to the PPI team - they put together the best oval car I've ever had. It would have been great if my family could have been here with me but I guess I was still able to give my daughter Ashlie a win today as a birthday present. She turned five today." The only incident in the race came on lap 17 when Sam Hornish Jr spun in Turn 4 and backed his Michael Shank Racing-Advantage Powder Coating/HBI Swift into the wall. Hornish was uninjured. David Rutledge, in the Forsythe Racing-The Keg/Fleming Financial Swift, was consistently fast through the weekend, qualifying a career-high third and finishing fourth. The top-finishing rookie was J.-F. Veilleux, who started seventh in his P-1 Racing-Miller Lite, and finished fifth. Lynx Racing's Buddy Rice battled Veilleux late in the race, giving way to him on the final lap, but still finished sixth and moved into third in the points with 20. Rice picked up his first Atlantic victory here last year. Reigning Atlantic champion Lee Bentham struggled at Nazareth, starting 13th, but battled David Besnard in the late-going and ultimately finished ninth. Bentham is fourth in the points with 18, following his third-place finish at the Long Beach opener. Besnard's contact with the wall in Saturday's warm-up session forced his Hylton Motorsports team to swap cars, putting Besnard - who had qualified fifth - at the back of the 19-car field. Besnard moved up to an 11th-place finish, garnering the $1,000 "Yokohama Now You've Got Control" award. ESPN2 will televise Saturday's KOOL/Toyota Atlantic Championship race at Nazareth on Sunday, May 9, at 12:30 p.m.-1:30 p.m., with repeat broadcasts on Tuesday, May 11, at 1:30 a.m.-2:30 a.m., and Thursday, May 13, at 2 a.m. ESPN International will telecast the race on Sunday, May 9, at 12:30 p.m.-1:30 p.m. Canadian broadcaster CTV's airing is TBA. All times are Eastern. Round 3 of the 1999 KOOL/Toyota Atlantic Championship will be held Saturday, May 29, at the Motorola 300 at Gateway International Raceway in Madison, Ill.
NOTES: * Anthony Lazzaro received $1,000 for winning the Toyota Pole Award. Lazzaro also received the $1,000 MCI WorldCom Fast Pace award for setting the fastest race lap of the race (145.743/23.372 seconds) on lap 38. * Nineteen cars took the field at Nazareth, which marked the ninth straight year the Atlantics have competed at the .946-mile course. * Atlantic veteran Tony Ave made an appearance at Nazareth, running in place of Tom Wieringa in the #34 Olsson Engineering/Carry Companies car. The team is looking to field a second car in upcoming events, with Ave getting the seat. * Lazzaro's victory broke a string of four straight victories by Lynx Racing at Nazareth. Rice won in 1998, Alex Barron won in 1997, and Patrick Carpentier won the 1995 and 1996 races at Nazareth.